Health & Family

Watch out for these red flags

Q. My boyfriend has been living with me for three months. Sometimes he doesn't come home, and I think he is staying at his ex's house. He won't admit it, but that's where I think he is because they have a child together. Is there an ex-etiquette rule to cover this?

An ex-etiquette rule to cover living with a guy who is possibly cheating? Yes. Move.

Honestly, if you “think” he's doing anything, there's a problem. We're not saying be the boyfriend police – everyone needs to be able to hang with friends and not have to check in every 15 minutes.

But if you're wondering where he is, how he's spending his time, and suspect that he's lying? Why are you there?

Sometimes past relationships color our opinions when in new relationships and it makes it difficult to act rationally.

A new partner is late and you start thinking of the person who cheated on you before and this new person must be a cheater, too – after all, he or she is late.

When this happens, it's a clue that the distrusting partner has some extra baggage and needs to get some help, possibly from a therapist, so he or she can enter a new relationship unencumbered.

There seems to be more to your story, however. If your partner isn't coming home at night, and you think he's staying at his ex's house – we question if she's really an ex. It sounds as if you might be “the other woman.” Here are a few red flags:

1. You're living together and you have never met his child and/or the child's mother.

2. You've never met any of his friends or relatives.

3. When you're together he wants to stay in, rarely opting to go out in public.

4. When his cell phone rings, he won't let you answer it.

5. He goes to another room or outside to listen to his messages.

6. He doesn't come home at night.

If you can say yes to at least two, there's likely a problem. We aren't saying he's definitely cheating, but there's something rotten somewhere.

What do you do?

Ask yourself: If you could design the perfect relationship, would you design the one you have now? If not, what would you change?

Are any of the changes within your power? If the answer is no, consider walking away.

No relationship is perfect, but what you may not be accepting is that this is not the relationship you want and you're blaming your partner.

You are choosing to be in this questionable relationship all by yourself.

There's someone else out there who'll respect you enough to be honest with you – if you respect yourself enough to demand it.